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London Borough of Newham (17 014 218)

Category : Children's care services > Child protection

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 14 Mar 2018

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr X’s complaint about the Council’s decision to remove his children from his care. This is because it would be reasonable for him to raise these matters in court.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, who I will refer to as Mr X, complains about the actions of the Council. He says the Council has placed his children with the children’s mother, restricted his contact with them and failed to act on his concerns about their welfare.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We cannot investigate a complaint about the start of court action or what happened in court. (Local Government Act 1974, Schedule 5/5A, paragraph 1/3, as amended)
  2. We have the power to start or discontinue an investigation into a complaint within our jurisdiction. We may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if we think the issues could reasonably be, or have been, raised within a court of law. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 24A (6) and 34B(8), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered the complaint information provided by Mr X. I have read the Council’s responses to Mr X. I shared my draft decision with him and noted his comments.

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What I found

  1. Mr X’s children are subject to a child protection plan and have been removed from his care. Mr X is dissatisfied with the Council’s actions and wants the children back.
  2. The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint as Mr X has started private law proceedings to have custody of his children. It is open to him to bring his complaints to the attention of the court and it would be appropriate for him to do so.
  3. The Council has considered and responded to Mr X’s concerns about the welfare of his children in their mother and respite care appropriately.
  4. Matters relating to Child Arrangement Orders and the care of children are for the courts and the Ombudsman would not usually investigate a matter that could reasonably be raised in court.

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman will not investigate. This is because it concerns matters which could be and will be raised in court.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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